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Exterior Design Dilemma Seeking Facade Decor / Improvement Advice

9 months ago
last modified: 9 months ago

Had a 30 ft w x 10 ft deep deck that didn't do anything to help the back of this house. Painted it off white and am now looking for ideas to make this split level ranch to become more French Provincial; not modern day farm house style. Not looking to replace the entire upstairs deck since the goal is to keep more light coming into the downstairs French doors and spend more time on the patio. The dilemma is that nothing on the back of the house is symmetrical -- especially those 2 problematic sets of doors.

I'm looking for architectural design elements (facade decor: think bump outs, quoins, corbels, keystones, sills, trims, cornices, arches, awning, shutters, maybe a small pergola etc.) that will pull this together simply and elegantly without building an addition and altering the existing simple roof and gutter system. There are stubs in place for a ledger board. Biggest issue is that there are HVAC ducts between the 2nd story sliding windows and the top of the 1st story french doors/windows the whole length of the home and that bottom wall is double wall brick. Not planning on adding steps from top to bottom. To the far right (past the corner of the house which you cannot see) is what will eventually be a courtyard.

Have lots of inspo pics, but struggling to envision the best solution. Windows upstairs from left to right: are bedroom, bathroom, bathroom, living room and dining room. On the bottom patio there is a fountain to the far left and an office window, followed by a few rooms that can't be redone: laundry room (that window has all the plumbing and electrical/washer dryer etc,) followed by a renovated floor to ceiling shower. Have an existing iron railing from the 2nd story I'd like to use as a rail against the concrete pad eventually (or on another building on the property as safety railing.

On top of the pad will be white-ish pavers and mojave colored flagstone on the left and right side of that (set loosely on the existing slab). House is a split level ranch; and this is the back of the house on a hill.

The biggest issue is having a set of French doors on the bottom that are offset from the ones on the top. Everything I've thought of for a small rounded or rectangle deck with Juliet type balcony brings the poles in front of the doors downstairs. (And I would keep the support columns if a bump out or box can cover them.

Prefer a balcony that can have 2 or 4 small chairs and a table, 2 ornamental plants - with no poles at all on the bottom - as I'm loving the open patio space and light to work in that area (plus it makes it to hard to place any furniture). The engineer said with angle brackets (and no poles) it can extend no more than 30, maybe 40 inches deep if it is curved. Would be nice to have weight bearing for 4 people; will settle for 2 and a dog.

At a minimum the house needs shutters. Window boxes, some sort of mini mansard-style awnings or other small juliet balcony design to the far left or right could help level those windows. House is on a lake, so spiders, lizards, bats and wasps to keep in mind for keeping clean any suggested ironwork and levered shutters. The back of the house gets the harshest wind for storms.

I am salvaging the metal railing from the top to use either on the bottom of this or the out building as a guard rail on a porch. If used here, it will run the length of the horizontal pad which is in line with the sewer pipes. I've just filled in clay sand and will add top soil next. This area gets full hot sun most of the day so knock out roses, and a ground cover like Pacific Juniper could go here; but I'm still prepping so not looking to this landscaping yet. The planters that are there will be moved to the far left of the house or the far right or planted elsewhere in the yard. They are too heavy to move for the pic and for the dirt that's coming in next. Ideally, I'll only have 2 topiaries by the doors. The lights have been removed for repainting them bronze.

I have more photos of the space at different angles if needed and appreciate any help with this. Thank you in advance!

From the photos I've posted, I like the shutters, balcony and flat patio. Offset trellis on the last photo is interesting too; but way too close.

Clean design:

Architectural Elements:



Shutters/Simple design:

Photo Inspo from other sources:

Listed below each pic is text mentioning the architectural feature that balances the space or I like.

Shutter, foam arch and foam accents. Not plants and gate.

Balcony, shutters, trellis.

Balcony, shutters and quions.

Shutters and foam details.

Hip, Pent or Trellis type roof/awning shape

Patio with shutters and simple pediment.


Sill and Trim window.

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